Jan 24, 2013 3:00pm PST
is in part what their genetic nature is, but it's also a part of what kind of an environment and life they live-- the nurture they have. so you can be genetically susceptible, but never exposed. but i think there's a public perception that the environment-- i mean smog, pesticides, water pollution, hair spray, you name it-- that these things are important causes of disease, and the reality is, they're not. there are a few biggies. there's cigarette smoke; there's asbestos... which is pretty much a problem of the past. and then, it's a pretty short list. the rest of the causes of disease are-- if they're not infectious-- are inside us. but often, the conditions in which one lives play a critical role in the ability to maintain good health, clearly, in most communities a level of development which has benefited many people, but left others behind. so one sees large slum areas of marginalized people, with people living under very poor conditions around the big cities. i saw it in china when i went there with my family in 1982. the farther away from beijing we went, the more "third world"
Jan 25, 2013 3:00pm PST
, how we organize our societies and how we make our living. humans have populated every environment on earth. we live on the frozen tundra and in the searing deserts. we live in thriving cities of millions and in isolated camps of a few dozen. some societies seem simple because they are small and their members are self-sufficient and use simple tools. others seem complex because they have large populations and people depend on each other for food and goods and use sophisticated technology. in between, there is a range that fills the spectrum. all of these differences are cultural, learned behavior, the result of a complex interaction between our inventiveness and our natural environments. as we search for new horizons, our inventiveness thrusts us across the boundaries of space, into new worlds. this new view of earth dispels an ancient myopia -- the artificial boundaries of our states and the politics that often divide us. here is a vision of one planet and one family of humankind. but the view from earth reminds us of a common human dilemma, the rise and fall of our many ways of l